According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, the 21-year-old is likely to leave Old Trafford before the end of the window, with both Everton and Southampton having registered an interest in the former Nottingham Forest loanee.
Writing on Twitter about the youngster’s future, the transfer guru stated: “Everton and Southampton are both showing interest in James Garner. No agreement/decision made, but he’s expected to leave Manchester United in the next days.”
This follows a recent report from The Athletic that revealed the Red Devils were willing to cash in on the playmaker before the September deadline, with a fee of around £14m having been mooted.
In a week in which United boss Erik ten Hag is riding high after vanquishing Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side following a drastically improved display on Monday evening, it looks if the Dutchman could well be set to make the first notable blunder of his tenure by letting Garner depart.
The 52-year-old has largely been praised for his bold decision-making while at the helm thus far, having raised eyebrows after dropping captain Harry Maguire and ‘talisman’ Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench for that victory over the Merseysiders.
While those courageous calls were vindicated, it is hard to see how letting the academy graduate move on will constitute a success for the former Ajax head coach, with Ten Hag likely missing a trick by not integrating the highly-rated prospect into his first-team plans this season.
Perhaps hampered by a disrupted pre-season due to injury, Garner has yet to make an appearance in the Premier League so far this term, with even the club’s much-discussed midfield woes not leading to a more prominent role.
Even after the likes of Scott McTominay and Fred were described as “not good enough” by club legend Roy Keane following the opening weekend defeat to Brighton, the £6.3m-rated gem is still no nearer to earning a starting berth – with forgotten man Donny Van de Beek seemingly still favoured ahead of him.
The England U21 international had likely been hoping for a chance under the new manager after his return to the Theatre of Dreams over the summer, having thrived on loan under Steve Cooper last season.
The “incredible” talent – as dubbed by journalist Callum Castel – proved integral to the successful promotion push at the City Ground last term, scoring four goals and providing eight assists in 41 games in all competitions.
Having proven himself more than capable of competing in the Championship, the next logical step would likely have been a return to the first-team fold at his parent club or a loan move to a top-tier side, to help further his progression.
The decision to sanction a permanent exit – as reports have suggested of late – is something of a headscratcher, with Ten Hag potentially set to see the decision come back to bite him in the near future, should Garner go on to thrive elsewhere.